The company made the news through its GameStack blog aimed at software developers, as Microsoft will depend on developers to implement these tools into iOS and Android games using its brand new GameStack software developer kit, or SDK.
Microsoft hasn’t given any timeline for when this expansion of Xbox Live into iOS and Android games will happen, but we’ll certainly learn more during its GDC 2019 panel discussing the service.
What we do know now is that this Xbox Live SDK will bring trusted game identity security controls and will allow developers to pick and choose which Xbox Live features they want to include in their games. Of course, this will also bring the infamous Gamerscore and Xbox Live achievements to iOS and Android games.
When will Microsoft flip the Switch?
What this announcement makes no mention of is Nintendo Switch support for Xbox Live, which was mentioned in Microsoft’s initial tease of the GDC 2019 panel discussion regarding this Xbox Live expansion. Why?
Microsoft spoke with GamesIndustry.biz in advance of the announcement to simply state: “Our goal is to unite the two billion gamers,” Microsoft CVP of Gaming Cloud Kareem Choudhry said. “But we don’t have any specific announcements as it relates to Switch today.”
That said, Microsoft doubled down on its platform agnostic stance with Xbox Live in the same interview. “We think about game development the same way we think about gaming,” Choudhry said to GamesIndustry.biz. “Our vision [is people] should have the freedom to play the games that they want on the devices that they want with the people that they want.”
So, it’s entirely possible that Microsoft is working toward Xbox Live integration for Nintendo Switch, but that it’s simply not yet ready for announcement. After all, Microsoft already has a strong relationship with Nintendo – just look at Minecraft on Switch.
Regardless, Microsoft’s GDC 2019 panel will definitely be one to watch, as Xbox Live is about to blow up.